Day 303: 96 Tears

Song: “96 Tears” by ? and the Mysterians
Reached #1: October 29, 1962 (their first, 1 week)

Who’s that guy?

The “Mysterians” gimmick wasn’t done just to make a hit – the band took its name from a race of movie aliens in a 1957 Japanese movie.  They didn’t even have a “Question Mark” until soon after the band formed, when Rudy Martinez was recruited to join his brother (guitarist Robert) in the band as the lead singer of mystery.

The band only had the one hit – it broke first in their home area of Flint and Detroit before going national.  One of their followups did become a hit – but not for the Mysterians.  Smash Mouth’s cover of “Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby” went to the top 20 in 1988.

By 1970, the band was pretty much done as a national touring act.  Rudy Martinez occasionally toured solo, and also has done sporadic reunion tours with the Mysterians.

The band tried to do a 30th Anniversary re-release of the 96 Tears album – but they couldn’t.  Infamous record exec Allan Klein now owns the right, and wouldn’t authorize a release.  So they did the logical thing – completely re-recorded the album and released the new version in 1996.

Although their moment in the sun was fairly short, ? and the Mysterians did popularize garage rock – and some even say this was the prototype punk band. 

Tomorrow, incoming Australians!

Other songs that reached #1 on October 29:
1955 –
“Autumn Leaves” by Roger Williams (his first, 4 weeks, Best Seller chart)
1983 – “Islands In The Stream” by Kenny Rogers [Duet with Dolly Parton] (his second, 2 weeks)

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